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 Oldsmobile Defender Series 40 photo

1912 Oldsmobile Defender Series 40

Oldsmobile introduced the curved dash Olds in 1901 and its popularity quickly catapulted the company to become one of America's leading car builders, but the euphoria was short-lived, as sales quickly declined. By 1905, the curved dash had become antiquated as many other car manufacturers were offering more modern alternatives. Oldsmobile management wanted to move up-market, a move that Ransom Eli Olds wanted no part of, so he left to start REO. The decision to build larger cars meant the engine size would grow considerably, the coachwork would become more stately and heavy, the cost would increase dramatically, and the target market would include a smaller pool of discerning clientele. Ransom Olds hesitation to move upmarket would prove correct as business soon crashed. By the time Billy Durant bought the company in 1908, Oldsmobile was hemorrhaging money. Mr. Durant retooled several of Oldsmobile's product lines, offered several price lines, and restabilized the company, making it profitable once again.

For 1912, Oldsmobile offered three models including the Limited, the AUtocrat, and a new model called the Defender - all available in a variety of body styles. The Defender and Autocrat were powered by four-cylinder engines, the Limited was a six, with the Defender being the smaller of the two. The T-head engine had four cylinders cast in pairs, with a cast-iron block, three main bearings, mechanical valve lifters, and a Rayfield Model D carburetor. The 267 cubic-inch engine delivered 35 horsepower and was backed by a four-speed selective, sliding gear transmission with a cone clutch and side lever controls. It had a 116-inch wheelbase, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and a live rear axle setup with ¾-elliptic leaf springs. Two-wheel mechanical brakes kept the vehicle in the driver's control. Bodystyles included a four-door tourabout and touring, and two-door roadster and coupe (both 2- and 5-passenger coupes). Pricing began at $3,000 and rose to nearly $4,000. Pricing of the Autorat Series began at $3,500 and rose to $4,700, while the Limited was priced from $5,000 to $6,300 depending on configuration and body style.

Oldsmobile produced 325 Defenders in 1912, about 30% of Oldsmobile's total production of 1,075 vehicles.


by Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2020
Vehicle Profiles
1912 Oldsmobile Defender Series 40 vehicle information

Touring

Chassis Num: 80155
Engine Num: 70191

This 1912 Oldsmobile Defender Touring was acquired by its most recent owner in 2011 and was subsequently restored with the working being completed in 2013. After the restoration, it participated on tours and in concours events, including appearing at....[continue reading]

Touring
Chassis #: 80155 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

$495-$3,000
1912 Defender Series 40
$3,800-$9,000
1912 Oldsmobile Defender Series 40 Price Range: $3,000 - $3,800

Other 1912 Oldsmobile Models

Industry Production

#1#2#3Oldsmobile
1917Ford (622,351)Willys Knight (130,988)Buick (115,267)9,279
1916Ford (734,811)Willys Knight (140,111)Buick (124,834)10,507
1915Ford (501,492)Willys Knight (91,904)Dodge (45,000)7,696
1914Ford (308,162)Overland (48,461)Studebaker (35,374)1,400
1913Ford (168,220)Overland (37,422)Studebaker (31,994)1,175
1912Ford (78,440)Overland (28,572)Buick (19,812)1,075
1911Ford (69,762)Overland (18,745)Maxwell (16,000)1,250
1910Ford (32,053)Buick (30,525)Overland (15,598)1,850
1909Ford (17,771)Buick (14,606)Maxwell (9,460)6,575
1908Ford (10,202)Buick (8,820)Studebaker (8,132)1,055
1907Ford (14,887)Buick (4,641)Maxwell (3,785)1,200

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